Place of Origin: Deccan, India
Date: 17th century
Overall: 940mm (37 Inches)
Blade: 815mm (32 inches)
A monumental and well-preserved example of an Indian sword known as a tulwar. The hilt of this sword is decorated with gold inlay, referred to as tah-i-nishan, which is a more costly technique than simply applying the gold to the surface in the more common technique known as koftgari.
Graceful chevron-leaves fill the blackened surface of this striking hilt in gold, their feathery edges picked out in fine detail. The hilt further comprises lotus-head langets, domed quillons, a centrally swollen grip, and a pommel disk that is especially pleasing for its incorporation of the same leafy schema into a sunburst structure. A domed cap sits on the pommel disk with a pierced border of lotus flowers, an openwork pommel-tag completing the hilt.
The large, curved blade is forged from pattern-welded steel and clearly exhibits an excellent state of preservation with a cloudy pattern that reveals the structure of the metal. The first section of its length shows handwritten markings, the number ‘98’ etched within a box together with the number ‘1928’ above an undetermined word, yet to be deciphered. There are also Indian numbers on the spine (likely contemporary to its manufacture unlike the other markings). Written in gold they appear to read ‘929’.
The sword is complete with its red velvet-covered scabbard, which is fitted with a chape forged from wootz steel and decorated with gold along its border.
Private collection USA.